Saracen at the Gates is a wildly revolutionary tale that is as raucously hilarious as it is bitterly sad, with a satirical edge that finds easy comparison with books like White Teeth, The Ground Beneath her Feet and Gravity’s Rainbow. In this, his first novel, Zinaid Meeran explores the fluid and fragmented nature of identity, and searches for the liberation of the individual from the tyranny of what he calls “groupthink”. It is about renegades living both on the murky borderlands of society and the gilded steps of privilege – places where life can be as dark as it is hopeful.
Zakira, a curry mafia princess, is kept on a short but well-funded leash by her wealthy and conservative parents ... or so they think. At once a devoted money-laundering curry mafia princess and vodka-guzzling, pill-popping, night-clubber, Zakira falls in love with Sofie, the punky-gorgeous leader of the Saracens – a girl gang that will change her life forever.
The Saracens, an anarchist cell whose graffiti tags the overpasses of the city, initiate Zakira into an underworld that wades grinning and lipsticked into an ongoing battle against tyranny and social injustice. The Saracens’ impending war with the city’s sex slavers brings the girl gang head-to-head with Zakira’s father and her erstwhile clan, the curry mafia.
As she is drawn ever deeper into the anti-world of the Saracens, Zakira finds herself faced with the simple but awful choices between family and lover, tradition and dissidence – choices that will ultimately force her to decide what will define her and who she will become.
About the Author
Zinaid Meeran worked in current affairs television, producing Parliamentary Service TV, before developing feature films P-I-G and The Concubine with twin brother Jean Meeran, the other half of filmmaking duo Team Tarbaby. Having secured a Fulbright scholarship, Zinaid earned an MA in Critical Studies and an MFA in Film at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Since returning to Cape Town, and Team Tarbaby, Zinaid has been developing feature films The Djinn and Gazelle911, while making art, particularly photography and experimental short films. For Zinaid film, art and literature are ways to investigate identity as fluid and fragmented, rather than the concrete and fixed phenomenon that the powerful claim it to be. Zinaid’s work is a rallying call for those who believe in the emancipation of the self from concrete notions of gender, race, class, national and sexual identities.
|Parameters of Book: Book|
|Sub-title:||WINNER OF THE 2009 EUROPEAN UNION LITERARY AWARD|
|Size (mm):||212 x 136mm|
|Colour:||Black & White|